I feel an obligation to answer, because the mentioned post was edited by me.
Whether you agree or not (which is totally OK) it might be interesting for you to learn about my motivations and my opinion about the matter.
First I share the opinion of Patrick Coulombe and others that approved edits of old posts should not appear on top. That is somehow confusing to users.
But I don't think one should stop editing old posts for this reason.
Quite obviously there are people considering these changes minor: otherwise we wouldn't have this thread. And I think this is OK. I also don't agree with every edit. I personally think every improvement counts, especially also on old posts. New users read these posts and will hopefully shape their first new posts after these. Every improved post is a net win for people reading these posts and for teaching new users.
Cross Validated also has some kind of inbuilt limitation for minor edits.
(I think you have to change at least x amount of chars to be considered.)
As mentioned, I like parsing through all posts (searching for certain terms) and edit stylistic elements that I feel that could be improved.
One thing I am looking for is whatever reminds me more of a letter than a Q&A platform.
Something that looks like (exaggerated example):
Dear CrossValidated Community,
my kindest greetings[...]
In my opinion people are looking for questions and answers and don't like to parse letters. Still, I usually don't delete a small
thanks or something minor, because I still think it is nice to be able to show gratitude (just not being half of the question text).
I also like to delete all forms of self-shaming, which I consider harmful and not in line with the values of the code of conduct ('
Be respectful' , '
Something like (exaggerated example):
Sorry for asking this utterly stupid question,
I am a complete idiot for asking this..
This will make beginner users reading the question feel bad. Nobody should even talk in this derogatory manner. Everybody was a beginner once and will be a beginner for certain topics. I don't want to go too much off-topic here, but mental health also means being kind to yourself.
I always had the feeling quite a few people agree with these
edits: there were not too many edit rejections.
But I definitely also try to consider the feedback from this thread**
About the motivation It is hard to know yourself what your exact motivation is. It is even harder to speculate about the exact motivation of others.
Economically most reasonable would probably be (for us all) to spend the time required for editing or answering earning some real-life money ;)
My motivations are probably quite similar to most users I guess:
some weird mixture of falling for the gamification approach, earning alleged virtual social respect and altruistic motives of making the world (or well at least Cross Validated) a better place and just being a helpful person.
Like probably most people I would be lying if I say: 'I never looked at my badges or reputation'. In the end, gamification is an essential and popular part of the platform. Otherwise we wouldn't be discussing whether edits should give reputation 2 and just appreciate that some minor change to the positive occurred.
Maybe also nice to know: there is a limit on how much reputation one can earn with edits. I guess it is 2k. So it might be nice to motivate people to do edits but on the other hand there is some kind of limit to keep a balance in the reputation system.